Marcin Gortat is a bit unhappy in Orlando. Commence murmuring: ”Don’t get Marcin Gortat wrong: He wants more than anything to help the Orlando Magic win a title this season as Dwight Howard’s back-up. But he told the Sentinel on Thursday that he eventually wants to move out of Howard’s immense shadow. “I love the organization, but I’m not going to stay here being a back-up player and playing five minutes a game,” Gortat said. “I hope people understand that. I know I can have a bigger role on another team.” Except that this season he just started a new five-year contract with the Magic. Only a trade can provide a bigger role on another team.”
OKC is ready for some trash talking tonight: ”All-Star Kevin Garnett has the reputation for being the league’s biggest trash talker. “If they want to talk, they can talk,” said Jeff Green. “We just have to worry about what we have to do. We can’t fall into their little traps of trash talking and them getting in our heads and get us playing out of our (game). We have to continue what we’ve been doing — sharing the ball and playing defense. “If they want to talk they can talk. If we win the game that will be our talk. We know they’ll come in amped (up) and they’ll talk a lot of trash. It is mostly Kevin, but guys feed off that. It goes into the way they play. I don’t talk at all.”
James Harden at three in David Thorpe’s rookie rankings: ”There’s an axiom in basketball that shooters think about when they miss their first few shots: Just keep shooting because they will start dropping soon. Well, that just isn’t true. Confidence is a big part of shooting, and when a player misses multiple shots in a row, the rim tends to look much smaller. Harden learned this the hard way last week against the Lakers when he missed all 10 of his 3-point attempts (2-for-15 overall). Sure, Harden is a good shooter and if he keeps shooting the ball then at least a few shots will fall eventually. But 0-for-10 or 2-for-15 isn’t helping your team. Harden is capable of doing a whole lot more than just shooting. The next time he misses a few deep shots, he’d be better off looking to create an easier scoring opportunity closer to the basket or getting to the free throw line.”
Harden 10th on SI: “Harden has cooled off some after scoring in double-digits five straight games. The Thunder, however, have won four of their last six partly because of Harden’s improvement and playmaking ability. If he can develop some consistency he could help the Thunder make a run at a playoff spot by season’s end.”
Nice story from NBA.com: ”Oklahoma City wanted to step up to the big time and shed an image of being a cow town. That’s what a professional team can do, provide an identity. The improvements to the Ford Center were taxpayer-funded, and last year, the building was filled to 98 percent capacity. This year, it’s at 99. The Thunder will never replace the Oklahoma Sooners in the hearts and wallets of the locals, but they’ve carved out a generous spot for themselves. The trick from here is continued growth. The Thunder will likely have another lottery pick or two in the immediate future, which is needed for the building process, because OKC doesn’t strike anyone as a destination for A-list free agents. Having said that, if Durant and Green keep this up, OKC could turn into the place to be. Apparently, the locals already agree.”
Robert Vaden update! Right now, Darth Vaden is averaging 17.3 ppg, is shooting 31 percent from two-point range, but is hitting 52 percent from 3 (32-62). His last game, he hit 7-10 from deep. Keep it up Darth.
Nenad Krstic is questionable for tonight because of an ankle sprain. He’ll be a gametime-ish decision.
KD’s people are kicking up his All-Star campaign with this little poster. Vote for him.
It appears that every single DT-Shirt is gone right now. Thanks to all who bought them. Again, if you wear it out, feel free to snap a picture and upload it to the Facebook fan page. We should have more for your purchase next week or at the absolute latest, the week after.